Zelenskyy says willing to meet Putin to stop the war

  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin is the only Russian official he is willing to meet, with the sole aim of ending the war.
  • The Ukrainian leader also calls for “maximum” sanctions against Russia, including an oil embargo as he addresses global business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos via video link.
  • United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says that some 20 countries had announced new security assistance packages for Ukraine during a virtual meeting with allies.
  • Ukraine says more than 13,000 alleged Russian war crimes are being probed while a court in Kyiv court sentences a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for killing an unarmed civilian.
  • A Russian diplomat to the United Nations in Geneva resigns over the war in Ukraine, in a rare sign of criticism against the Kremlin.
  • Ukrainian officials say they have pushed back an attempt by Russian forces to storm Severodonetsk – a key city for Moscow to gain full control of the Donbas region.

Here are all the latest updates:

Moscow not sure it needs resumed ties with West, says Lavrov

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said Moscow will consider offers of re-establishing ties with the West and think whether that is needed, but will focus on developing ties with China.

“If they (the West) want to offer something in terms of resuming relations, then we will seriously consider whether we will need it or not,” Lavrov said in a speech, according to a transcript on the foreign ministry’s website.

“Now that the West has taken a ‘dictator’s position’, our economic ties with China will grow even faster,” he added.

Three civilians dead in Donetsk region: Governor

Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko has said three civilians in the region have died in Russian attacks. He did not give further details.

Earlier, Kyrylenko told The Associated Press in Kramatorsk that heavy fighting was continuing near the region of Luhansk and that the frontline was under continuous bombardment.

Kyrylenko said the “situation is difficult. The frontline is under shelling at all times.”

‘Never have I been so ashamed of my country’: Russian diplomat resigns

A veteran Russian diplomat to the United Nations office in Geneva has handed in his resignation and sent a statement to foreign colleagues criticising the “aggressive war unleashed” by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.

Boris Bondarev, who worked as a counsellor at Russia’s permanent mission to the UN in Geneva, told the Reuters news agency: “I went to the mission like any other Monday morning and I forwarded my resignation letter and I walked out.”

Read the full story here.

Nearly 90 killed in Desna attack

Speaking to global leaders who were gathered for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy also revealed Ukraine’s worst military losses from a single attack of the war, saying 87 people had been killed last week when Russian forces struck a barracks housing troops at a training base in the north.

Previously, Kyiv had said eight people died in the May 17 strike on the barracks in the town of Desna.

EU embargo on Russian oil ‘within days’: German minister

The European Union will likely agree on an embargo on Russian oil imports “within days”, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck has told broadcaster ZDF.

Habeck warned, however, that an embargo would not automatically weaken the Kremlin as rising prices were enabling it to rake in more income while selling lower volumes of oil.

Therefore, one consideration was to no longer pay “any price” for oil, but to agree on upper limits, he said. For that to work, however, many countries would have to get on board.

Some 20 countries commit new security aid for Ukraine: Pentagon chief

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that some 20 countries had announced new security assistance packages for Ukraine during a virtual meeting with allies on Monday that was aimed at coordinating arms for Kyiv.

The countries that announced new packages included Italy, Denmark, Greece, Norway and Poland, Austin told reporters following a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. Denmark would provide a harpoon launcher and missiles to defend Ukraine’s coast, Austin said.

“Everyone here understands the stakes of this war,” Austin said.

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - MAY 23: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin participates in a news briefing at the Pentagon May 23, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley spoke on various topics including Russia’s invasion to Ukraine and whether the U.S. would react militarily if China attacks Taiwan. Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin participates in a news briefing at the Pentagon [Alex Wong/Getty Images/via AFP]

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy would meet Putin an end to war

Addressing by video link an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Ukrainian president has said that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin was the only Russian official he was willing to meet with the sole scope of ending the war.

But Zelenskyy said that arranging any sort of talks with Russia was becoming more difficult in the light of what he said was evidence of Russian actions against civilians under occupation.

He also told the global business community that the world must increase sanctions against Russia to deter other countries from using “brute force” to achieve their aims.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Saturday, May 23 here.

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